Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me,
You’re more powerful than you know.
I know the acne is tough. I know that feelings suck and being a teenage girl seems impossibly complicated. I know you secretly want people to like you even though you act indifferent simply because you have so few friends.
Let’s face it – you grew up incredibly sheltered, and the transition from home-schooling to public school was rough to say the least. High school is an angsty time to begin with, but making the switch from home-school straight to ninth grade in a new public school? Yeesh. That time of your life may be hard, but you’ll make it. Those grades will pay off, girl. I’ll never forget the time when you got 102% on your English final because of course you did the extra credit, and the other kids were trying to figure out who it was that achieved that score. You looked at the sheet on the wall and saw your student ID number, and in excitement (and extremely naivety) you said, “Oh my gosh, that’s me!” And that was the first time anyone said the F word to your face. Needless to say, not a smart move on your part. But hey, you live and learn, and from then on you kept your grades to yourself.
I know you’re quiet and in many ways still afraid of the world. I won’t lie to you – there are a lot of really terrible things out there. There are always going to be people who want to take advantage of weakness, and prey on those whom they don’t believe can defend themselves. But you can. There are always going to be people who don’t give a damn about what you think or believe or want in life, and who don’t think that you will be able to speak up for yourself. But you can. There are going to be times when you are so lonely or hurt or scared that you don’t know what to do, and don’t see how you could possibly figure a way out. But you will.
You will find your why, and your passion will lead you into strength and purpose. Know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There are a lot of hard lessons that you will learn but you are smart and resilient and damn it girl, you will bounce back.
Know that you are supported and loved, and you are fortunate to be so. Your family is there for you even when you don’t acknowledge or understand it. You are lucky enough to have a strong support system even if you rebel against it. Trust me, you’re going to need them, and they will always love you.
Know that the world can wreck you, but it can also be a place of joy and laughter and love. Life is what you make it, so be aware of what you think.
But above all else – be kind. Be kind to those around you, because you never know someone else’s story or what they may be going through. Be kind to your parents and siblings, because family is a blessing that not everyone has the privilege to experience. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself. You may be fifteen, rebellious, short-tempered, and not always a pleasure to be around, but you’re allowed to have time to grow up. Allow yourself to feel the freedom of being a teenager while you still can, and before you feel the true pressures of life. Allow yourself time to grow and figure out who you are.
And know that you are strong.